Admission Criteria

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The admission criteria are divided into three categories: emotional readiness, academic readiness, and professional readiness. These criteria are as follows:

Emotional Readiness

Emotional Stability - Social work is not a field for individuals who desire to solve their own emotional needs or problems by working in a helping role. Individuals entering advanced social work practice need to maintain emotional stability and be able to cope with the emotional stress that is common in this demanding profession.

Self-Confidence & Assertiveness - These characteristics are necessary in working with client systems, colleagues, professionals from other disciplines, and supervisors, especially in order to work actively as a case and cause advocate for the rights of clients.

Ability to Accept Constructive Criticism - As lifelong learners, individuals need to accept that there is room for improvement in their personal and professional behavior. Once individuals accept this need for improvement, they can constructively use the insights regarding their behavior provided by colleagues, supervisors, administrators, or governing boards, and work toward change.

Academic Readiness

Intellectual Ability - Problem-solving and critical analysis skills are fundamental for effective social work practice. Complex individual, group, family, organization, and community problems require advanced practitioners to think clearly and logically in a systematic manner if problems are to be ameliorated or resolved.

Oral Communication - Oral communication is vital in the social work profession, in order to communicate effectively with client systems, colleagues, supervisors, administrators, professionals in other disciplines, and governing boards.

Written Communication - Written communication is vital in the social work profession, in order to complete agency records, write reports, and other important documents in a social work agency.

Professional Readiness

Interest in and Motivation for Social Work Profession - Social workers entering graduate study in their profession need to be motivated both as students and as professionals. This motivation and interest in the field should come from a strong desire to serve others in society, especially the poor.

Ability to Form and Maintain Positive Relationships - Social work is a people-oriented profession, and relationship building is foundational to effective practice. There needs to be a capacity to empathize and establish effective interpersonal relationships with diverse client populations.

Ability to Work with Diverse Groups - Social workers need to be aware of their own prejudices and actively work to address these attitudes and actions using the feedback provided by client systems, colleagues and supervisors. Advanced practitioners need to be able to work with diverse client populations in a non-judgmental manner, accepting individuals' rights to differing perspectives.

Leadership Qualities - The ability to work effectively in a leadership role is necessary for advanced practitioners. Social workers assume positions of leadership with client systems as well as roles in agencies as supervisors, administrators, and consultants.

Social Work Values & Ethics - Social workers can influence client systems. Therefore, it is essential that advanced practitioners be of good moral character. Social workers should be aware of their own values and have respect for others' values, which may be different. Their own values should have consistency with the Judeo-Christian heritage and with the values reflected in the professional Code of Ethics.